In his first guest blog for Broad Conversation Andy Hughes, the author of ‘I, Jack Russell’, writes about the human-animal bond from a photographer’s perspective. All images are taken from Andy Hughes’ book, ‘I, Jack Russell’.
Andy will be joining us in conversation with renowned author of ‘In Defence of Dogs’ Dr. John Bradshaw, next week, on Wednesday 16th January at 7pm. Tickets cost £3 and are available from our Customer Service Department, or over the phone on 01865 333623.
Photographers, artists, writers and other ‘creatives’ are diverse in motivation, interests, experiences and insights. Much of my photographic practice deals with issues concerning the marine and coastal environment, however recently, I realized or perhaps discovered by accident that I had many more images of my two dogs than I did of my family and friends and this lead to a new field of research. I began this project about Jack Russell dogs by looking to find as many family snapshots, which included our dogs. I found a few and these are included in my recent book I Jack Russell which attempts to encourage readers to think about their own snapshots of dogs and about the dog human bond.
In I Jack Russell my motivations were driven by something more than simply capturing a sense of likeness. Something more akin to Barth’s concept. In a wonderful precise and short essay titled ‘Dogs’ Robert Adams  beautifully describes various relationships between artists and their dogs. Two sentences in particular resonate.
‘Art depends on there being affection in its creator’s life, and an artist must find ways, like everyone else, to nourish it. A photographer down on his or her knees picturing a dog has found pleasure enough to make many things possible.’
‘Artists live by curiosity and enthusiasm, qualities readily evident as inspiration in dogs. Propose to a dog a walk and its response is absolutely yes.’
The bond between creative enterprise, artistic interpretation and the sciences are re-bonding and revealing new insights. Research into the relationship between the dog and human is set to continue – we should all keep our nose to the blogosphere and bookshelf to help fully understand the dog and human world.
 Robert Adams: Why People Photograph: Selected Essays and Reviews, Aperture (1994)
Andy Hughes January 7. 2013-01-07